Plant Biology

You are viewing this course for September start 2022

Plants provide an essential foundation for life on earth and have a crucial role to play in solving some of the most serious problems facing the human race, such as food shortages and rising carbon emissions. Never before has there been such urgency to train a new generation of plant biologists who can develop future technologies and approaches to respond to these challenges. 

Here’s why we think Aberystwyth is a great place to be a Plant Biologist:

  • Passionate teaching staff that are also world-leading researchers;
  • World class facilities for plant biology teaching and research, including a botanical garden with tropical glasshouse, modern laboratories, a microscopy suite, historic botanical specimen collection, and the National Plant Phenomics Centre;
  • Local access to a wide range of flora, and sites that are of international importance;
  • Direct links to industry, with companies on campus, international company links, and a soon-to-be-built innovation campus that will house even more plant-focused companies.

Course Overview

Royal Society of Biology Accredited DegreeWhy study Plant Biology at Aberystwyth University?

  • Learn and live in an exceptional environment where you will be surrounded by a great diversity of beautiful environments, including marine, moorland, mountain, waterways, grassland and coast.
  • Investigate subjects areas such as plant physiology, genetics, agronomy, crop science, ecology, food security and global climate change impacts.
  • Receive expert training in field and laboratory skills.
  • Taught by well-known and world-leading experts in the field.
  • Use of the Biological Service Unit, Mass Spectrometry, Analytical Unit, Modelling laboratory, the Computational Biological laboratory, Advanced Microscopy and Bio-imaging Laboratory.
Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Modules September start - 2022

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Agronomy and Crop Improvement BR20320 20
Climate Change: Plants, Animals and Ecosystems BR21120 20
Controlled Environment Crop Production and Horticulture BR23520 20
Ecological Surveying BR21420 20
Research Methods BR27520 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Applied Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics BR20620 20
Aquatic Botany BR25820 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Frontiers in Plant Science BR35820 20
Microbial Pathogenesis BR33720 20
Research Project BR36440 40


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics BR37120 20
Crop and Grassland Production Science BR37220 20
Terrestrial Ecology Fieldcourse BR36620 20
The Agri-Environment BR30420 20
Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Conservation (Trec) Field Course BR30120 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


What are our graduates doing now?

Students can engage in careers in the following areas:

  • Horticultural / Agricultural production;
  • Habitat surveying of habitats and Conservation;
  • Education and public engagement;
  • Plant Breeding;
  • Plant Biotechnology;
  • Consultancy;
  • Plant research –graduate position;
  • Ph.D. research.

Following graduation our students are ideally positioned to target employment with the following organisations:

  • NIAB;
  • The Environment Agency;
  • Natural Resources Wales;
  • National Trust;
  • National Parks;
  • Botanic Gardens (e.g. Kew, NBGW);
  • The Forestry Commission;
  • Plant breeding companies;
  • Biotechnology companies;
  • Agri-Food organisations.

What skills will obtain from studying Plant Biology?

Employability is embedded in our teaching. Our students leave Aberystwyth University with the skills including:

  • research and data analysis skills;
  • enhanced mathematical and computational skills;
  • effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills;
  • a thorough grounding in information technology skills;
  • the ability to work independently;
  • time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines;
  • the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form;
  • self-motivation and self-reliance;
  • team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement.

What work experience opportunities exist whilst studying? 

Click here to find out about the various opportunities that our Aberystwyth University Careers team offer. 

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and YES (Year in Employment Scheme) managed by our Careers department. 

Course Content

What will I learn?

The breakdown below will provide you with an illustration of what you may study during the three year degree scheme.

Your first year will provide a broad grounding in biology, and training in the skills needed to succeed in your studies. Subject areas covered will include:

  • Plant Physiology;
  • Plant Genetics;
  • Plant Cell Biology;
  • The Biosphere;
  • Understanding how Ecosystems work;
  • Soil Biology.

In your second year you will engage in Plant based modules offering the following areas:

  • Climate change impacts on Plants;
  • Plant ID and Ecological Surveying (UK and Abroad);
  • Agronomy and Crop Improvement;
  • Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics;
  • Aquatic Plants.

In your third year, subject areas offered include:

  • Applied Plant Science (Forage Grass Breeding, Energy Crops, Biotechnology);
  • Plant Pathogens;
  • Plant ID and Ecological Surveying (UK and abroad);
  • Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics;
  • Crop and Grassland Production;
  • Agricultural and Environmental Systems.

How will I be taught?

The course will be delivered through lectures, workshops, tutorials and practicals. You will be assessed through;

  • Essays
  • Practical exercises
  • Oral presentations
  • Worksheets
  • Reports
  • Statistical exercises
  • Dossiers
  • Posters
  • Portfolios
  • Wikis
  • Reflective diaries
  • Literature reviews
  • Magazine articles
  • Field notebooks
  • Exams

Student Testimonials

The course is great; I get to cover a large range of topics which allows me to tailor my modules to my own tastes, so I can make my degree course fit my interests and needs. Elizabeth Smith

The course is very broad and caters for the interests of anyone wishing to study biology. The modules in second year allow you to specialize in subject areas that you are interested in. The flexibility of the degree scheme is very attractive to a prospective student who is not yet sure on where their true interests lie. The practicals are diverse and well spread over the academic year and reinforce lecture material. Jodie Ackland

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 120 - 104

A Levels BBB-BCC with B in Biology

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh and Mathematics

BTEC National Diploma:
DDD-DDM in a specified subject

International Baccalaureate:
30-28 with 5 points in Biology at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
75%-65% overall with 7 in Biology

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits and offers can vary. If you would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

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